On Thanksgiving and other days when I’m feeling particularly grateful, I like to think about the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
There are a number of moments that qualify. Coming to Peru and teaching at Fe y Alegria. Attending Marquette University. 8 Makes A Squad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97bbvXABw6g). Touching Allen Iverson’s finger after a Bucks game. The list goes on.
But recently, another JV named Mateo gifted me a pair of boots that are vying for their own place on the “best ever” list. A little too big for Mateo but just right for me, these shoes have sullied into my life to such a degree that I feel naked if they aren’t on my feet.
It’s hard to put my finger on why I adore these boots so much. Perhaps it’s that the shoes I brought to Peru have started to wear down, and the boots happened to come along just when I needed a new pair of kicks. Maybe it’s that boots, a footwear I never gave much thought to before, are especially practical in the Andes.
But without a doubt, part of it is that these boots remind me of the working class garb Matt Damon wears in one of my favorite movies, Good Will Hunting. When I pointed this out to Mateo, he nodded approvingly and said he was glad he had given me the boots, because I “got it.”
One of my other community mates, Susan, was within earshot as this conversation transpired. She said she, too, saw the Good Will Hunting connection. For her, however, I looked more like Robin Williams’s character on the basis of my hat and beard.
Sometimes, I’m not sure if Susan is complimenting or insulting me (see an earlier blog post titled “People I Can Relate To.”) On the one hand, Robin Williams won an Oscar for his performance in Good Will Hunting. On the other, he’s kind of old and, frankly, not as cool as Matt Damon. Who knows what she was saying?!
So I gave Susan a confusing compliment of my own. I thanked her for her doppelganger spotting and told her that she also looks like a classic Robin Williams character: the professor from Flubber.